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Even Demons Believe in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist

September 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Spiritual Warfare

It was almost 15 years ago. I was At Old St. Mary’s here in D.C. celebrating Mass in the Latin (Extraordinary Form). It was a solemn high Mass. I don’t suppose I thought it any different than most Sunday’s but something quite amazing was about to happen.

As you may know the ancient Latin Mass is celebrated “ad orientem” (towards the Liturgical East). Priest and people all face one direction. What this means practically for the celebrant is that the people are behind him. It was time for the consecration. The priest is directed to bow low, his forearms on the altar table the host between his fingers.

As directed I said the venerable words of Consecration in a low but distinct voice, Hoc est enim Corpus meum (For this is my Body). The bells rang as I genuflected.

But behind me a disturbance of some sort, a shaking or rustling in the front pews behind me to my right. And then a moaning or grumbling. What was that? It did not really sound human, more like the grumbling of a large animal such as a boar or a bear, along with a plaintive moan that did not seem human. I elevated the host and wondered, “What was that?” Then silence. I could not turn to look easily for that is awkward for the celebrant in the ancient Latin Mass. But still I thought, What was that?

But it was time for the consecration of the chalice. Again, bowing low and pronouncing clearly and distinctly but in a low voice: Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testamenti; mysterium fidei; qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem pecatorum. Haec quotiescumque faceritis in mei memoriam facietis (for this is the cup of my Blood, of the new and eternal covenant; the mystery of faith; which will for the many be shed unto the remission of sins. When so ever you do this, you do it in my memory).

Then, I heard another sound this time an undeniable moan and then a shriek as some one cried out: “Leave me alone Jesus! Why do you torture me!” Suddenly a scuffling as some one ran out with the groaning sound of having been injured. The back doors swung open, then closed. Then silence.

Realization – I could not turn to look for I was raising the Chalice high over my head. But I knew in an instant that some poor demon-tormented soul had encountered Christ in the Eucharistic, and could not endure his real presence displayed for all to see. And the words of Scripture occurred to me: Even Demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).

Repentance – But just as James used those words to rebuke the weak faith of his flock I too had to repent. Why was a demon-troubled man more aware of the true presence and astonished by it than me? He was moved in the negative sense to run. Why was I not more moved in a positive and comparable way? What of the other believers in the pews? I don’t doubt that any of us believed intellectually in the true presence. But there is something very different and far more wonderful in being moved to the depth of your soul! It is so easy for us to be sleepy in the presence of the Divine, forgetful of the miraculous and awesome Presence available to us.

But let the record show that one day, almost 15 years ago, it was made quite plain to me that I held in my hands the Lord of Glory, the King of heaven and earth, the just Judge, and Ruler of the kings of the earth. Is the Lord truly present in the Eucharist? You’d better believe it, even demons believe that!

By Msgr. Charles Pope – Archdiocese of Washington – To read more from Msgr. Pope, click here.


Art for this post on Christ in the Eucharist: Detail from Canonization ceremony of Brazilian Friar Frei Galvão celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI at the Campo de Marte, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Fabio Pozzebom/ABr, 11 May 2007, CCA 3.0 Brazil, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Susan

    Wow. Would that we all might be that aware of the Presence.

  • WOW!!!
    Oh I truly wish we all could be moved to the depths of our soul each time we attend Mass and receive Holy Communion! How truly wonderful and very humbling it is that our Lord selflessly gives Himself to us at every Mass!

  • gina

    Great articule! Lately I’ve been trying to focuse on the Consagration and try to see my angel and all the Celestial court down when this is happening and becomes more realistic ans sobern!!

    • Ltqlin

      I, too, just started to envision the angels worshiping with us at Mass.

  • Becky Ward

    Stories like this always give me goose bumps………a sure sign of the Holy Spirit.

    I read something once that advised souls to ask the Blessed Mother before communion, “Help me to receive Him as you received Him.” I cannot help but think of the joy Our Lady felt holding Jesus in her arms.

    • LizEst

      Amen, Becky!

      May I recommend this free video on line to all (It’s lengthy so give yourself a couple hours for viewing and contemplation)?

  • Sr. Elaine Arsenault

    when someone asks, What is spiritual direction? How do I answer that question?

  • Jeanette

    I try to realize that all the saints, angels, patriarchs, prophets, Mary our mother and St. Joseph are present at the time of each Consecration of the Mass. I ask them to make up for any lack of perfect praise, adoration, worship and thanksgiving on the part of God’s faithful. Then, I re-surrender myself to Jesus – I offer Him my body, soul, mind, spirit and all I have and ask Him to do with me as He pleases and I do this just before I receive His real Presence. After receiving HIm, I adore, praise, worship and thank Him for humbling himself to be our spiritual nourishment.

  • Pyeoman098

    Yes The sacred presence of Christ is in the Eucharist. I have experienced this personally in a powerful way. I am from a protestant denomination which does not practice the sacraments- I have been attending catholic mass by Divine intervention in my life and have found the Mass to be the instrument of great blessing,strength, inspiration and peace. Pamela -South Africa

    • Dear Pamela – Great to hear from you all the way from South Africa and glad to hear that you have encountered our Lord in the Mass! How did you find this site?

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